World Cup (cricket): 2011

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.



Venue: The Indian sub-continent (India; Sri Lanka; Bangladesh). The International Cricket Council (ICC) removed Pakistan from the list of co-hosts after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team in Lahore.

Participating teams: fourteen (as below):

Full Members: Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, Zimbabwe

Associate Members: Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands

Winners: India, who defeated Sri Lanka in the final.

India vs Pakistan

IANS | Feb 12, 2015 India vs Pakistan: World Cup history <>The Times of India Feb 14 2015 A FABLED RIVALRY<>The Times of India

2011 -

(2nd Sf)

PCA Stadium, Mohali.

Man Of The Match: Sachin Tendulkar (85)

India won by 29 runs

India made just 260 runs, by no means a safe total, after chosing to bat first.None of the batsmen, barring Tendulkar who made a scrappy 85, could score.

Tendulkar (85) again rose to the occasion in a crunch semifinal and helped India to a fighting total of 260 for nine. Sachin Tendulkar continued to torment Pakistan with yet another match-winning performance. He bagged his third Man of the Match award in the five Indo-Pak World Cup clashes with a chancy 85.

Even Tendulkar rode on his luck as he was helped by some sloppy catching. Yuvraj Singh, Man of the Match in the quarterfinal win over Australia, was out for a first-ball duck.

The home team was well placed to post a superior total but was restricted by left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz (5/46). From 116/2, India lost their way to be reduced to 205/ 6. However, Suresh Raina struck a 39-ball 36 to help India reach 260.

Pakistan's response was typical, a strong start followed by a middle-order failure. Mohd Hafeez (43) led the chase and skipper Misbahul Haq (56) kept them in the hunt The onus fell on the reliable Misbah-ul-Haq (56) to pull Pakistan through but he ran out of partners and ultimately was the last person to be dismissed. Indian bowlers collectively put up a superb performance with all five frontliners picking up two wickets each on their way to title glory.

Yuvraj Singh did make amends foor poor batting by removing Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan to turn the match India's way. All five Indian bowlers picked two wickets each to make it a team effort.

Brief scores:

India 260/ 9 (S Tendulkar 85, G Gambhir 27, MS Dhoni 25, S Raina 36no; W Riaz 5/38, S Ajmal 2/44)

Pakistan 231 (Mohd Hafeez 43, A Shafiq 30, M Haq 56, U Akmal 29; Z Khan 2/58, A Nehra 2/33, M Patel 2/40, H Singh 2/43, Y Singh 2/57).

Gautam Gambhir’s memories of 2011 World Cup Final

Gautam Gambhir, top-scorer, recalls

Gaurav Gupta, April 2, 2021: The Times of India

Exactly a decade after India won the 2011 World Cup at home, Gautam Gambhir, who cracked 97 in the final against Sri Lanka, talks to TOI about the multiple heroes of that triumph. Excerpts…

Do you look back and savour the moment?

I don’t look back at things because I think it’s time to move forward. Indian cricket can’t keep thinking how we won the World Cup in 2011. I said exactly the same thing that time too. It’s about looking ahead. We did something which we were supposed to achieve. We didn’t do something which we weren’t supposed to do.

People can keep saying a lot of things and keep praising themselves, but I’m not that kind of a person. For me, what we’ve done is over. What we need to do is more important.

Last year, you tweeted that the triumph wasn’t about one man but the whole team, after a website hailed Dhoni’s famous six as the ‘shot that sealed the World Cup’…

I’m going to ask you the same question: do you think that only one individual won us the World Cup? If one individual could have won the World Cup, then India could have won all the World Cups till now. Unfortunately, in India, it’s only about worshipping certain individuals. I’ve never believed in that. In a team sport, individuals have no place.

It’s all about contributions. Can you forget Zaheer Khan’s contribution, what he did in the first spell of the final, where he bowled three maidens in a row? Can you forget what Yuvraj Singh did against Australia? Or for that matter, Sachin Tendulkar’s hundred against South Africa? Why do we keep remembering about one six? If one six can win you the World Cup, then I think Yuvraj Singh should have won six World Cups for India, because he hit six sixes in an over (against England in the 2007 World T20 in Durban).

No one talks about Yuvraj. He was the ‘man of the tournament’ in both 2007 and 2011. And we keep talking about that one six.

Was that 97 in the final the most special knock of your career? Do you feel it got the kind of attention it deserved?

It wasn’t the most memorable knock for me, because every knock of mine which has helped India win is memorable. Every run which has helped the country is more important. When you say that my 97 hasn’t been talked about, it’s the media which doesn’t speak about it. But the normal individuals, wherever I go, they talk about it.

And that’s my biggest achievement. Not the 97 I scored, but when people come up to me and say ‘thank you for the World Cup,’ that’s my biggest achievement. That’s the biggest medal which I’ve won. The media can talk about certain individuals, which it’ll always do. It doesn’t bother me one bit because I didn’t play for the media.

You got four half-centuries, so you were in good form in that World Cup..

I thought the guy in best touch was Yuvraj. And it is not about scoring runs. See, people will score runs. It’s about scoring runs at the right moment. When it comes to the knockouts, the crunch situations, then it’s about your mental toughness. I won’t degrade any opposition, runs are runs, but when you can get the runs in the quarterfinals, semis and the final, that sets you apart.

That is what decides what kind of form you are in, because you know that there’s no scope for a mistake. Therefore, I always say that Yuvraj was in very good touch. I remember in a league game, against Ireland in Bangalore, we were in a spot of bother, and he won us the game. He also got a half-century against England.

Despite being an opener, you played at No. 3, allowing Sachin and Sehwag to open. Was it difficult to adjust?

Except in one game, I played at No. 3 throughout. For me, more importantly, it’s not about the number. It’s about having the opportunity of playing in a World Cup final, which not many people have. It’s about what the team and the captain and team management want from you. Even if they’d have wanted me to bat at No. 6 or 7, I would’ve happily done that. That’s how I look at a team sport. A lot of people have spoken about wanting to bat at certain positions. There’s no place for that kind of discussion in my dictionary.

How did the team cope with the pressure of immense home expectations?

I can’t talk on behalf of the other individuals. All I can say is that for me, the platform never mattered. For me, all that mattered was the contest between bat and ball. Had it not been Lasith Malinga, and had it been a Ranji Trophy bowler and I was playing a Ranji Trophy final, I would have prepared in the same way, because ultimately, it’s not bowler versus batsman, it’s ball versus bat. I’m not good at doing many things but taking the platform or the occasion out of my mindset is easy for me, because any game that I’ve played, I’ve always played it with the same intensity. All that mattered was that I had to be better in that contest.

The build-up to the triumph started when India won the CB series in 2008. The team had begun to find a set of match-winners and was gelling well as a unit…

For me, it’s important that you can have a settled unit eight months before the World Cup. It always helps. If you keep experimenting, checking on players, you’ll always be very confused, because there’s so much talent in India. There will always be talent in India because of the amount of people, kids who play cricket.

However, if you keep checking out players, keep giving them opportunities, there’ll always be more competition. The more the competition, the more will be the insecurity. I’m not against giving opportunity to players, but I’m always in favour of giving enough opportunities to players to test them, and then probably test the next one. You can’t test any player just by giving him two or three games and then you turn around and say: ‘There’s so much competition for places.’ It’s good to have competition for places, but it’s even worse to have insecurity among the players. Our squad was pretty settled around eight months before the World Cup, and that is why people could go out and express themselves.

Most of the guys in that squad knew that they would be a part of the World Cup team.

There were a few unsung heroes of that campaign. Munaf Patel bowled some incisive spells. Ashish Nehra bowled well in the semifinal against Pakistan…

There were 13, or probably 14 unsung heroes of that World Cup win! Munaf, me, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, who got a hundred in the first game, Suresh Raina, who played a very crucial knock against Pakistan — all these players’ contribution was unbelievable. For that matter, when I look back at it today after 10 years, I feel Yuvraj is an unsung hero as well, despite being ‘man of the tournament.’ You won’t talk about him, but people do talk about that one six for sure. All those contributions made India win the World Cup.

Yuvraj chipped in as the fifth bowler as well, taking so many wickets…

People say that I’m the unsung hero of that victory, but for me, he’s the biggest unsung hero of both the World Cup wins for India. I’m sure that without his contribution, India wouldn’t have won the 2011 World Cup. For me, he was the biggest player in both the World Cups.

If I must name one player who won India both the World Cups, it must be Yuvraj and no one else. Yes, I got a 75 in the 2007 World T20 final and was the highest run-getter in the final. However, what he did, I don’t think anyone else can match that.

How did the team cope with the pressure of the semifinal against Pakistan in Mohali?

I don’t think that we played well but we still managed to win that game! We were probably mediocre. We should have got more runs than the 260-odd we got. We won that much because of Suresh Raina’s innings.

But then again, it’s about winning. Perhaps our best game came against Australia in the quarterfinals. It’s not about Pakistan, to be honest. I don’t believe in all that stuff that playing Pakistan is more emotional, or a pressure game. Ultimately, you don’t watch the colour of the jersey. You watch the cricket ball. That’s all that matters.

A lot of stars in that team lost their places soon after that triumph…

That question can be answered better by the coach, captain and the selectors, because I was neither. Obviously, you feel sad that you could not go on to defend the World Cup. How many people (from the 2011 team) got a chance to defend the World Cup (in 2015)...very few, two or three, I think. It must have hurt Yuvraj, Harbhajan, all of those who were a part of the 2011 team, to not be able to defend the World Cup. That’s life. You can’t look back.

Any special anecdote that you remember from that tournament…

I remember one thing. We were playing against the West Indies in Chennai, and we had more than 600-700 bats in our dressing room! I mean, you can imagine having that many bats in the dressing room can be embarrassing! Even the bowlers had 10 bats each. We kept getting these bats from all the companies, which was a bit of a surprise. Since we were not allowed to go back home throughout the tournament, we kept getting these bats from them.

Coach Gary Kirsten also played a big role with his calming influence…

He was a very good man manager. He worked hard, threw a lot of balls (at the batsmen). Ultimately in international sport, it’s all about being a good man manager. You don’t need to teach someone technical stuff, unless there’s a massive problem. If he can be hard working, gel with the group well, that’s all that’s required. And he had both these qualities.

Do you think that Kohli and Co. can emulate your bunch later this year or in 2023?

See, I’m not an astrologer, but I hope they do, because very few people get the opportunity to play in a World Cup for their country. A lot of things change between one World Cup and the other one. These players will be very fortunate that they’d be playing three World Cups in a row. They’ll have a great opportunity to perhaps do something special for the country, and I hope they do.

Sachin’s memories of 2011

(For further details, see Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar 1: A timeline

Winning 2011 World Cup was priceless moment: Sachin Tendulkar

PTI | Feb 11, 2015

Sachin Tendulkar felt the team peaked at the right time to win the World Cup.

Narrating the final moments when India defeated Sri Lanka, Sachin Tendulkar said he thanked the Gods, screamed and ran out of the dressing room to the middle.

"I did cry when I went out in the middle... I did cry. This was the only time I had happy tears... because that moment was just a priceless moment. That moment was something that you can only dream off," remembered Tendulkar.

"Playing in India, on the home ground...The Indian team celebrated with lots of champagne as their families, friends and fans also joined in the dressing room that night."

"We didn't start off as well. We were either not bowling well or battling well. Put together as a package we were not clicking. If we batted well, we did not bowl well and if we bowled well, batting was not up to the mark. We started peaking at the right time and both started becoming a formidable package. Obviously we fielded well also," he said.

"Ashish Nehra, Munaf (Patel), Zaheer (Khan), Harbhajan (Singh)...they were all aggressive and you got to hold these guys back. It matters how you show your aggression," Tendulkar, the most successful batsman in ICC's pinnacle event with 2,278 runs in 45 matches, including 482 in nine games in India's successful campaign in the 2011 World Cup, said.

"Viru is a very unpredictable batsman. The opposition would not know what he was going to do. Standing at the non-strikers end, I had started to figure out what he was going to do. For Yuvraj, something happened right from the first game and that continued till the last game."

Sachin, Sehwag’s memories

K Shriniwas Rao, April 4, 2020: The Times of India

Sri Lanka caught off-guard: Sachin, Sehwag relive 2011 World Cup final

MUMBAI: The very second that the ball left Nuwan Kulasekara's hand, pitched at full length, to hit the middle of MS Dhoni's bat and fly for a six over long on, everything became a blur for around a billion Indians.

The ball disappearing into the smog-filled sky, Ravi Shastri's words echoing in everybody's ears, Sachin Tendulkar being carried over the shoulders by his teammates and a young Virat Kohli speaking words well beyond his age then are memories that have gotten etched in our memories forever. Yet, the game itself, once it began at 2.30 pm IST on April 2 after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first, wasn't such a blur after all. It was one that the world watched with bated breath until they could sense it was over and a victory accomplished. With memories getting reignited the other day when Indians celebrated the ninth anniversary of that long-awaited World Cup win, the match itself once again became the talking point.

Was MS Dhoni's 91, especially the last ball six, any bit more prolific than Gautam Gambhir's 97? Why was sending Dhoni ahead of Yuvraj a masterstroke and how did it happen? What worked for Team India that evening?

Sachin: Once the eleven was decided, one thing was sure – more or less, the batting order would remain the same. Yuvi was batting well and had enjoyed a very good quarterfinal. So, he would walk in at No.5 followed by MS at No.6 and Raina at No.7.

Viru: We knew that if we got our basics right, we would always be in control. We had enjoyed a very good tournament and it was just a matter of holding on to our beliefs in that one all-important game. We were brimming with confidence.

Sachin: Zaheer started off really well. Viru took an outstanding catch of Tharanga, I think it was the seventh over. That charged up the proceedings and we did excellently well to restrict the target to 274. Mahela batted beautifully for his 103. The knock gave Sri Lanka a total to fight for.

Viru: I got out right at the start, hoping things would get better. But I remember the silence when Sachin came back. It was eerie. He came back and straight headed inside (the dressing room). Virat joined Gautam in the middle.

Sachin: I came back to the dressing room after I got out and went and sat in my seat. During the quarterfinal, against Australia, after our (Sachin & Viru's) partnership, I had returned to the dressing room and was lying down on the physio's table and Viru was next to me. We hadn't moved. Even this time (at Wankhede), coincidentally, Viru happened to be there and I asked him to sit next to me and not move.

Viru: I wanted to go out (into the balcony) and watch the game. He (Sachin) said ‘No'.

Sachin: Yes, I said, 'nothing doing. Tu yahan se hilega nahi (you won't move from here). Because even in the quarterfinal, it had worked well for us. We had done the same thing after our partnership in the quarterfinal. When I got out, I came back into the dressing room and was on the physio's table and he was next to me. This time again I told Viru, that's how it is going to be. We won't move from here. Inside my kitbag, I had stuck multiple photos of Gods and I was praying, just saying that this was a big moment for us, so please help us through this.

Viru: I wanted to go to the bathroom. "Arrey, kam se kam bathroom toh jaane do", I told him. He was like 'no. Tu yahan se nahi hilega. Do whatever you want later'. Eventually, I had to wait till the drinks break.

Sachin: The partnership between Gautam and Virat was flourishing and we wanted to be a couple of steps ahead of the opposition. That's when I told Viru ... "if a left-hander (Gautam) gets out now, a left-hander (Yuvi) should go in, and if a right-hander (Virat) gets out, a right-hander (Dhoni) should go in. It was Yuvi's turn at No. 5 and he was all padded up. But I just suggested to Viru, because he was sitting next to me: 'if Virat gets out, Yuvi should not go in. It's extremely important to keep the right-hand, left-hand combination going'. Yuvi was in tremendous form but Sri Lanka had two off-spinners going, so I thought a strategy change would work.

Viru: Baat unki bilkul sahi thi (he was right). Left-right combination needed to continue. That change in strategy completely caught the Sri Lankans off guard.

Sachin: There were two quality off-spinners in the attack so a left-hand, right-hand strategy made sense. Gautam was batting brilliantly and someone like Dhoni could've kept rotating the strike. So I told Viru, 'tu overs ke beech mein sirf ye baat bahar jaake MS ko bol aur next over shuru hone se pehle waapis aaja. Main yahan se nahi hilne wala (Just go out into the balcony between the overs only to say this much to MS and come back fast before the next over begins. I'm not moving from here).

Viru: Before he could even complete his sentence, we saw MS walking into the dressing room. So, that's when he (Sachin) repeated the same thing to MS, in front of me.

Sachin: I asked MS to consider this strategy. He then went to Gary (Kirsten), who was sitting outside. Then Gary came in and all four of us got talking about it. Gary too agreed it was the right thing to do, given the attack on hand. MS also agreed and promoted himself up the order.

What Tendulkar remembers the most from that evening was Gautam Gambhir's precious 97 and Dhoni's 91. "Gautam's knock was exemplary. It put the chase in perspective and set the platform. And the way MS finished it was brilliant. It was an imperious knock. That six was the icing on the cake," he says.

The last ball six from Dhoni, including his fine 91, was of course a classy finishing touch. "By the time that six was hit, more or less, the fate of the final had been decided," says Viru.

Virat Kohli’s contribution

April 3, 2022: The Times of India

Mumbai:Former India skipper Virat Kohli has spoken out about the tremendous pressure he was under when he came out to bat in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede S tadium, with Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar back in the dressing room after being bowled out cheaply.

Chasing Sri Lanka’s 274 in the D/N game, Sehwag went for a duck, while Tendulkar could only manage 18 befo re he was caught by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara off Lasith Malinga. In walked Kohli, steadying the innings along with Gautam Gambhir (97) with 35 off 49 deliveries.

Exactly 11 years after the historic victory, Kohli narrated the feeling of walking out to bat with India wobbling in the run chase.

“I remember the pressure of walking in to bat. At 2 down for 20, I think it was --Sachin andS ehwag both got out. I was walking in. . . Sachin Paaji had a brief chat with me when I walked in to say ‘Build a partnership’. And we did build a partnership. Me and Gautam (Gambhir) had a 90-r un partnership (83). . .

“I got 35, probably the most valuable 35 that I’ve scored in my cricketing career,” Kohli told RCB Bold Diaries on Saturday.

“I felt very happy that I was a part of putting the team back on track and contributed in whatever way I could and just the thrill of winning the world cup was something unbelievable. And the whole atmosphere of the crowd singing ‘Vande Mataram’, and the ‘Jo jeeta wohi sikandar’ song -it was a surreal moment,” added Kohli. IANS

Fascinating facts about World Cups

Author: MS Ramakrishnan, Bangalore, Thu, Jan 22 2015 CricBuzz 1 <>CricBuzz 2 <>CricBuzz 3 <>CricBuzz 4 <>CricBuzz 5

2011: The coin goes up twice in a World Cup final The coin had to be tossed twice at the 2011 World Cup final. When the coin went up for the first time, match referee Jeff Crowe could not hear the call from Kumar Sangakkara. The coin came down as heads and Sangakkara reckoned he called the right side of the coin and was about to say that his side would bat first. However, MS Dhoni said that he heard a call of 'tails' from Sangakkara. Crowe then said that the coin would go up once more.

2011: A review that changed the DRS rule India's review against Ian Bell in the 2011 World Cup forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to change the DRS rule. Although Hawk-Eye showed the ball hitting a good part of the stumps, Bell was not given out as he was struck outside 2.5 metres from the stumps. The ICC then changed the rule by saying a batsman can be ruled out, if the Hawk-Eye shows the ball hitting the stumps, by a considerable margin, irrespective of the distance between the point of impact and the stumps

2011: Boundary beginning Virender Sehwag got off the mark with a first-ball-four in each of India's first four matches of the group stages in the 2011 World Cup.

2011: Fans mistakenly stone West Indies team bus Unable to digest their team's dismal show in a 2011 World Cup Group match against West Indies, angry Bangladeshi fans stoned the West Indies team bus, which was making its way back to the hotel from the ground. It was later said that the fans mistook the West Indies bus to the Bangladesh bus. Bangladesh were bowled out for 58, their lowest total in ODIs.

2011: Pakistan end Australia's rampaging streak Australia's 34-match unbeaten streak in World Cups was ended by Pakistan in 2011. During that sequence, Australia won three titles, beat 15 different opponents and used 34 players.

2011: Superstitious Sachin forces Sehwag to be glued to his seat After his dismissal in the quarter-final of the 2011 World Cup against Australia, Sachin Tendulkar was getting a massage done in the dressing room. Virender Sehwag was alongside him. The duo never moved from where they were. Tendulkar prayed non-stop and India went on to win the game. In the final too, a superstitious Tendulkar decided to do the same. He made sure Sehwag was right next to him and also stopped him from going to the gallery to watch the winning moment live, suggesting that he can watch the replay a number of times later. It was only after MS Dhoni hit the winning six that Tendulkar and Sehwag moved from their positions and they were the last to run onto the field to join the celebrations.

2011: The first Mahela ODI ton in vain Mahela Jayawardene essayed a terrific century in the 2011 World Cup final, lifting Sri Lanka to a challenging 274. However, Mahela was topped by MS Dhoni as it became the first World Cup ton to end in vain. It also turned out to be the first Mahela ODI ton in vain.

The progress of the tournament

Sri Lankans drying clothes in public

WC: SL told to polish up etiquettes

Colombo, February 6, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Sri Lankans have been advised to refrain from the habit of drying clothes in public among others and to polish their etiquettes before the mega event.

India not mentally ready for Aussies

We were not mentally ready for Aussies: Dhoni

New Delhi, February 15, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

After a poor batting performance against Australia in the warm-up match, captain Dhoni says hectic schedule did not allow the team to be mentally prepared.

Wankhede fails fire inspection

Mumbai, February 18, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

The city fire brigade department said it will seek a reply from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) in this regard.

Dazzling start in Dhaka

WC gets a dazzling start in Dhaka

Dhaka, February 17, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

The opening ceremony of the 49-day cricket extravaganza saw Canadian rockstar Bryan Adams perform along with Indian and Bangladeshi music icons at a packed Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.

India vs Bangladesh

Turning point from India vs Bangladesh WC opener

Mirpur, February 19, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Virender Sehwag's 175 and Virat Kohli's century help India beat Bangladesh by 87 runs in the opening match of the World Cup in Mirpur The turning point of the game was undoubtedly India opener Virender Sehwag's spectacular 175 runs off 140.

Sri Lanka beat Canada

Sri Lanka beat Canada by 210 runs

Hambantota (SL), February 20, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Sri Lanka beat Canada by 210 runs in their opening match of the World Cup at the Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota

Mumbai bookie arrested

Bookie arrested for accepting bets

Mumbai, February 20, 2011

An alleged cricket bookie has been arrested from suburban Borivali for allegedly accepting betting on the India-Bangladesh match of the ICC World Cup

Sachin’s knee

Sachin suffers niggle in knee

New Delhi, February 21, 2011

According to the Indian team management, Sachin underwent an MRI and was found to be doing fine and there was no cause for concern.

Pakistan beat Kenya

Pakistan beat Kenya by 205 runs

Hambantota (Sri Lanka), February 23, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Captain Shahid Afridi scalps five wickets as after putting a target of 318 runs, Pakistan bowls out Kenya for 112 runs

India and England tie

India vs England game ends in tie

Bangalore, February 27, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

It went down to the wire and the unexpected happened as England ended up scoring the same number of runs as India - 338 and the match ended in a tie.

Pakistan beat Canada

Pakistan beat Canada by 46 runs, Afridi claims five

Colombo, March 3, 2011/ India Today The Pakistan captain becomes the first bowler to scalp four wickets or more wickets in three consecutive matches in a World Cup

WI beat Bangladesh

Benn scalps four as WI beat Bangladesh by 9 wickets

Dhaka, March 4, 2011/ India Today

Chasing 59, the West Indies reached the target in the 13th over to beat World Cup co-host Bangladesh by nine wickets in the Group B match in Mirpur

Sri Lanka vs Australia match called off

Sri Lanka vs Australia match called off post heavy rains

Colombo, March 5, 2011/ India Today

Sri Lanka were batting on 146/3 in 32.5 overs with Kumar Sangakkara (73) and Thilan Samaraweera (34) at crease against Australia when heavy rains forced the game to be called off at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo

India beat Ireland

Yuvraj shines as India win by five wickets

Bangalore, March 6, 2011/ India Today

Yuvraj Singh scalped five wickets and scored an unbeaten 50 as India beat Ireland by five wickets in their World Cup Group B match in Bangalore

NZ beat Pak

Taylor scores a ton as NZ beat Pak by 110 runs

Kandy, March 8, 2011/ India Today

Kiwi Ross Taylor scored an unbeaten 131 as New Zealand beat Pakistan by a massive 110-run margin during their World Cup Group A in Kandy

India survive Dutch scare

India survive Dutch scare, win by 5 wickets

New Delhi, March 9, 2011/ India Today

India beat the Netherlands by five wickets after being pushed to the wall by an inexperienced Dutch side in their World Cup Group B match in New Delhi

South Africa beat India

South Africa beat India by 3 wickets

Nagpur, March 12, 2011/ India Today

Sachin Tendulkar scored his sixth World Cup ton, but India ended up on the losing side. South Africa chased down 297 with three wickets and two balls to spare during their WC Group B match at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur

Bangladesh beat Netherlands

Bangladesh beat Netherlands by six wickets

Chittagong, March 14, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Bangladesh kept their hopes of reaching the quarterfinals alive by notching up a comfortable six-wicket triumph over the Netherlands in a Group B match of the cricket World Cup her

Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 112 runs

Mumbai, March 18, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Kumar Sangakkara scored a century and offie Muttiah Muralitharan scalped four as Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 112 runs in the World Cup Group A match at the Wanhkede Stadium in Mumbai.

Pakistan beat Australia

Pakistan beat Australia by 4 wickets

Colombo, March 19, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Pakistan beat Australia by four wickets in their final World Cup Group A match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

South Africa thrashes Bangladesh

Relieved India face West Indies today

Chennai, March 20, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

South Africa thrashed a listless Bangladesh by 206 runs in far off Dhaka to confirm India's - as well as England's - passage into the quarter-finals and kill the uncertainty about the home team's progress to the next round going into a game against the West Indies here on Sunday.

India beat Windies

India beat Windies by 80 runs, to play Australia in quarters

Chennai, March 20, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Yuvraj Singh scored his maiden World Cup ton as India beat West Indies by 80 runs in the last league match of the mega tournament at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. They now face Australia on Thursday.

Pakistan beat WI

Pak beat WI by 10 wickets

Dhaka, March 23, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Pakistan spinners struck thick and fast as West Indies caved under pressure and went down by 10 wickets in the first quarter-final match of the World Cup in Dhaka

India beat Australia

India beat Australia by 5 wickets

Ahmedabad, March 24, 2011/ From the archives of ‘‘India Today’’

Yuvraj Singh's all-round performance helped India beat Australia by five wickets in their World Cup quarter-final match at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, on Thursday. They will now play Pakistan in the semi-final

Indo-Pak clash: betting

Indo-Pak clash to attract betting stakes

New Delhi, March 30, 2011/ India Today

Crores of Rupees are set to change hands in betting during the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, with crime branch sources saying the stake would be as high as Rs.500-600 crore.

SL maul England

Dilshan, Tharanga tons maul England into submission

Colombo, March 26, 2011/ India Today

Sri Lanka openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan scored unbeaten tons to help their team thrash England by 10-wicket in the fourth quarter-final match of the World Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

Sri Lanka in finals

Sri Lanka beat New Zealand, enter World Cup finals

Colombo, March 29, 2011/ INDIA TODAY

Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by five wickets in the first semi-final of the World Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday.

The India-SL finals

Scoreboard- India vs Sri Lanka, World Cup Final 2011
From: Gaurav Gupta, April 2, 2021: The Times of India

See graphic:

Scoreboard- India vs Sri Lanka, World Cup Final 2011

A tweet by tweet account

India Today ITGD Bureau Mumbai, March 31, 2011 India vs Sri Lanka World Cup final: Highlights from the game

- Welcome to India Today's coverage of the cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka.

- The match is being played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and is to be attended by the high and mighty from both countries.

- This is the third final outing for both India and Sri Lanka and if one of them wins, it will be their second World Cup victory.

- The good news for India is that Lankan pacer Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the match due to a thigh muscle injury.

- Rookie off-spinner Suraj Randiv will replace paceman Angelo Mathews for Sri Lanka.

- Sri Lanka's legendary off-spinner Muttiah Muralidharan is also a doubtful starter due to a quad strain.

- India is also plagued by injury with pacer Asish Nehra unlikely to play due to a finger fracture.

- Aggressive pacer S Sreesanth is likely to replace Ashish Nehra in the Indian XI.

- From Twitter: If you think you are nervous, imagine what Poonam Pandey must be going through. [Poonam Pandey who created a stir in the media by announcing that she would bare it all if India wins the World Cup [1]

- No electronic equipment, except mobile phones, will be allowed to be taken inside the stadium.

- 17 parking places have been designated for the public who visits the Wankhede to watch the match.

- The Mumbai Police has barricaded all roads leading to the stadium and declared them a no-vehicle zone.

- The Taj Hotel, where the two teams are staying, has been heavily barricaded.

- Both the teams are expected to leave for the Wankhede stadium at 12.00 P.M.

- A lawyer, RK Pandey, has filed a case in Bhopal against Poonam, accusing her of depicting Brahmins in poor light by vowing to go naked.

- Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has been accused of instigating model Poonam Pandey to go naked if India win.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Last match was all about 'Aman ki Asha'. Is today's match all about 'Poonam ki Asha'?

- Bollywood actor Neha Dhupia on Twitter: How uncanny.. The last time India picked up the World Cup was a Saturday. And today will be no exception!

- SMS doing the rounds. With due apologies to Sri Lanka and its fans: "Sri Lanka kya jeetega. Salo ki aukat kya hai. India ka map lene jao, inka map free milta hai."

- Seniors motivate Team India before final. Sachin gives pep-talk.

- Indian and Sri Lankan team buses reach Wankhede stadium.

- Sushma Swaraj: Winning the Cup on home turf will give a great feeling. I am not going to Mumbai. I will watch the match on TV.

- Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha: Entire nation will watch the World Cup final. My best wishes for the team.

- Weather forecast for Mumbai. It will be sunny all day round.

- A source from Taj Mahal Palace Hotel informs that S Sreesanth was seen roaming around late last night in the Hotel.

- This might be an indication that spinner R Ashwin will play instead of Sreesanth today.

- Sri Lanka win toss and elect to bat against India in Mumbai.

- The toss happened twice as on the first occasion, the match referee and the two captains failed to hear the call.

- Sreesanth back in the team. What will India do?

- Sreesanth will play in place of Nehra. Ashwin fails to find a place in the team.

- Rahul Gandhi reaches Wankhede Stadium to watch the WC final.

- Actor Shilpa Shetty to Team India: Think positive and let things happen.

- Actor Aamir Khan and Mumbai Indians' co-owner Nita Ambani among host of celebrities at Wankhede.

- Aleem Dar and Simon Taufel are the on-field umpires for the final.

- President Pratibha Patil arrives in Wankhede stadium to watch the final.

- Mumbai, Delhi roads choked with heavy traffic as people head home to watch final.

- Sreesanth gives away the first boundary of the final to Dilshan.

- Zaheer Khan strikes. Scalps Upul Tharanga. Tharanga edges to Sehwag at first slip.

- Munaf Patel replaces Sreesanth after he gave away two boundaries in his last over.

- Balrampur (in UP) CJM orders FIR against model Poonam Pandey for her controversial statement that she will go nude if Team India wins the ICC World Cup.

- Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal tweeted: Sreesanth gets to play in the World Cup finals. Surprised with Ashwin's omission. Hope Sree redeems himself.

- BJP president Nitin Gadkari and senior leader LK Advani at the Wankhede to witness the match.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Dear Sri Lankan batsmen... Please score anything above 100 so that Sachin scores his 100th 100.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Sreesanth heard the coach say - 'Work on the ball'. But Sree took it as 'Work on the 'Baal'.

- Twitter flooded with users praising the rejuvenated Indian bowling and fielding.

- Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal tweeted: Wow! Indians fielding like I've never seen them before. Yuvi & co giving Jonty run for his money. Boy, are they charged up for the big game or what!

- Mandira Bedi on Twitter - Zaheer: One classy act. 2 maidens in 3 overs.

- Tweet doing the rounds: There seems no area of the ground & slightly above it, at least on my TV screen, where Yuvraj's lunging arms can't reach.

- Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal cheers as Bhajji scalps Dilshan.

- Actors Ranbir Kapoor and Soha Ali Khan at Wankhede to cheer for Team India.

- Yuvraj smiles as cameras pan in on his lookalike in the stands.

- Actor Saif Ali Khan was spotted in the stands in all black - shades, T-shirt and jeans.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Friend says Sreesanth is modern day Krishna. He'll protect Poonam Pandey's modesty.

- Actor Rajinikanth with his family and senior politician Manohar Joshi spotted in the stands.

- Shane Warne tweeted: I'm in Mumbai and the place is a real buzz - great atmosphere. Nice to be back in India - love the people & passion!

- Shane Warne tweeted: My prediction - very close contest and whoever bats first has a big advantage. India by 17 runs or 5 wkts!!!

- Senior journalist Ayaz Memon tweeted: Crunch time for Lanka after Dilshan's dismissal: lose either Mahela or Sanga early now and game could swing away irrevocably.

- Harsha Bhogle tweeted: How disappointing it must be to get out like that in a World Cup final. Dilshan was looking good.

- Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal tweeted: Sreesanth extremely high maintenance. Asks for big towel after every over. Drinks full energy drink.

- Harsha Bhogle tweeted: Look what confidence does to you. Yuvraj is back to fielding as brilliantly as he did in the past.

- Mail Today's Baidurjo Bhose says Rajinikath has come in to watch the final showdown. Even he couldn't miss a piece of the history unfolding at the Wankhede Stadium.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Mahela of the silken touch, playing very late, finding gaps, pulling his team out of trouble.

- English cricketer Kevin Pietersen tweeted: SL winning the toss could cause an upset people. This is gonna be a cracker!! Should've gone & watched it! May the best team win.

- Mail Today's Baidurjo Bhose says it is not often that we see Sachin Tendulkar diving to save a ball. Today, even he is doing it. Shows the desperation in him to win.

- Harsha Bhogle tweeted: The moment a wicket falls Dhoni gets Sreesanth back. Trying to finish his overs? But could allow a new player to get set.

- The entire stadium erupts as little master Sachin Tendulkar comes in to bowl.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Mahela's played one of the most pleasing half-centuries of this Cup; could this also turn out to be the most crucial?

- Harsha Bhogle tweeted: Tendulkar filling in for Sreesanth overs. Looks like Yuvi could do with a bit of support too. Second spell from Zaheer?

- Harsha Bhogle tweeted: Jayawardene batting beautifully. India's weak bowling coming back to haunt them? 270 on here.

- First the time in the World Cup, Simon Taufel's decision has been over-ruled by the TV umpire. Yuvraj traps Samaraveera LBW.

- English cricketer Michael Vaughan tweeted: I hear Tails shout at the toss. Others hear Heads. Inconclusive on the replays. Could you ever believe that we have TOSS GATE at the Wankhede stadium.

- Headlines Today's Gaurav C Sawant tweeted: Love the review system. Outstanding call by Yuvraj Singh. This Indian team deserves to win the WC.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Yuvi's wicket of Samarweera couldn't have been better time. Match delicately poised. For Lanka, Mahela has to bat through; for India, he must go ASAP.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Splendid Zaheer's wicket of Kapugudera swings advantage hugely India way. What a hero he has been! Struggle now for Lanka to play out 50 overs.

- Mandira Bedi tweeted: Zak the ripper does it again..!

- Media executive Sneha Rajani tweeted: Rajinikanth is in the stadium. Now how can India lose!!!??

- Mail Today's Baidurjo Bhose says Yuvraj has done it again. The man with the golden arm finished with two wickets as none of the other bowlers seem to be troubling the Lankan batsmen.

- Akshay Khanna tweeted: Take a bow Yuvi. You have bowled your heart out in the World Cup.

- Abhishek Singh tweeted: Sri Lanka 274 for 6 after 50 overs in World Cup final(M Jayawardene 103*, T Perera 16*).

- Tweet doing the rounds: A lot has been made of how strong the Indian batting is! Time to prove it now lads!! Let's chase this down!!

- Mail Today's Baidurjo Bhose says the pitch doesnt look too good and with a wizard in the Lankan team - Muttiah Muralitharan - things don't look to good for Dhoni's men.

- Mail Today's Baidurjo Bhose says giving away 63 runs in the last five overs was a bit too much for the Indian team.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Mahela Jayawardene has now scored 14 ODI centuries. Until now, all of them have been in winning causes.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Zaheer should have bowled underarm. Less shame in that compared to what just happened.

- Gaurav C Sawant tweeted: India has the best batting line up in the world. SL has the best bowling & fielding side. If only Sachin and Sehwag stay on & score.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Lankans scored a whopping 63 runs in the last batting Power Play: has any team done better in this World Cup, I wonder.

- Mandira Bedi tweeted: Who is going to bat out 45 overs for us? We need someone to do a Mahela on our side..!

- Rahul Kanwal tweeted: What began very well ended disastrously. But look at the positive, 274 is not 352. And if there's any batting that can chase this score it's ours.

- Mandira Bedi tweeted: Brilliant innings by Mahela. 274 didn't look possible with the way they started. Is 275 a challenge? All depends on how Messrs SRT & VS get going!

- Gaurav C Sawant tweeted: 250-260, says an aunty in the neighbourhood. Goes on to show just how popular the game is. Everyone and their 'aunty' is an expert.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Mahela has played innings of a lifetime. Terrific improvisations now after long spell in rebuilding the innings, all at better than run-a-ball.

- Gaurav C Sawant tweeted: 18 of the last over not on. 275 to win. Ind lost the plot towards the end. Batsmen, the nation depends on you now. Sehwag/Tendulkar stay please.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: This has been an outstanding finish by the Lankans. Almost 90 runs in last 10 overs. Zak murdered in last spell. India have grim battle on hand.

- Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal tweeted: Don't know about team morale, but fan morale pretty down at Wankhade. Come on Sachin, immortality awaits.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Right, 29 more to be the highest scorer in this WC, 82 for 100th century. No pressure.

- Sonakshi Sinha tweeted: NO WAY! We're still proud of you Tendulkar. What a player!

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Malinga finds edge of Tendulkar's bat plunging stadium into deathly silence. Is this also the end of his dream?

- Tweet doing the rounds: So now I am wondering - is there someone in the India team who can step up to grab the spotlight? Rajni?

- Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal tweeted: Malinga standing in front of my stand, crowd boos him. Slinger gives him right back. Booing seems to be pumping him up.

- Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal tweeted: Team's performance affecting fans. Fights breaking out over petty issues in the stands. Cops having to work doubly hard to control tempers.

- Ayaz Memon tweeted: Moment of magic from Dilshan. Brilliant catch to dismiss Kohli. India need to be careful here. Consolidate as well as keep up with run rate.

- Business Today Editor Chaitanya Kalbag tweeted: Nice to be Rahul G: you get to see all the cricket from the best seats at my expense at World Cup.

- Headlines Today's Gaurav C Sawant tweeted: Rajinikanth in audience looking depressed. He should now be a part of India's playing 11 at WC. That should help Team India. Then 275 will be easy.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Two types of prayers overwhelming God right now - please let India win and please let Poonam Pandey strip!

- Ayaz Menon tweeted: Must say that the Indians have outplayed Sri Lanka completely in fielding. That's probably what's going to make the difference in this match.

- Lalit Kumar Modi tweeted: Get Ready for a long night of celebration. Tonights gonna be a good night. India. India. India. All the way...

- Mandira Bedi tweeted: Hahaha. Tension nahi leneka. Rajni aur Ghajini dono stadium me hain.

- Joke doing the rounds: Poonam Pandey has started it. She just removed her earrings.

- Tweet doing the rounds: Can we hold the fireworks, mithai and the champagne until we actually win so as not to jinx it?

- Aamir Khan seems to be wearing the same T-shirt that he wore during the Indo-Pak semi-final. Does this have anything to do with India's luck.

- Team India takes victory lap with Sachin Tendulkar astride on their shoulders.

- Coach Gary Kirsten gets victory lap with Raina and Kohli taking him on their shoulders.

- Harbhajan Singh, who was in tears, dedicates Cup to the people of India. Says, "The cup belongs to you, the people of India."

- Sachin Tendulkar says he never could have asked for anything better than this.

- MS Dhoni is Man of the Match, Yuvraj Singh is Man of the Series.

- The crowd in Wankhede erupts as Sachin Tendulkar comes to collect his winners medal.

- BCCI announces Rs.1 crore for every member of Team India.

- Heard in the office - Where is Poonam Pandey?

- India's victory over Pakistan saw enormous fireworks displays. The victory in the final did not get the same attention.

- So, a wonderful tournament comes to an end. India have won the World Cup for the second time after 28 years. India is also the first host nation to win it ever.

- Revellers were seen thronging the road outside Purana Qila in New Delhi celebrating the Indian victory.

- A caller reported seeing Congress chief Sonia Gandhi joining in the celebrations aboard her security-cordon safari at the location.

Looking back at the final, 9 years later

April 3, 2020: The Times of India

Some might say it was written. For those involved, however, it took no less than a superhuman effort. April 2, 2011 was the day MS Dhoni’s hyper-charged Team India kept its tryst with destiny. Over the course of the World Cup, played at home that year, the Men In Blue had steadily managed to rise above the many pulls and pressures to seize their moments. They eventually fulfilled all expectations on a magical night at the Wankhede Stadium, going past an equally astute Sri Lanka in the final to lift the coveted trophy. Nine years later, the protagonists take a walk down memory lane…

New Delhi:

For Gautam Gambhir, India’s 2011 World Cup triumph was a journey of 20-odd people and not the one freeze-frame moment, the MS Dhoni six that sealed victory. Harbhajan Singh, on his part, can’t fathom why the 11 players never played as a team again. Ashish Nehra missed the final with a finger fracture but his better half Rushma ensures he can never forget April 2. They were heroes in one of the most glorious chapters in Indian cricket and will cherish those moments forever, even though their lives and careers have gone in different directions over the past nine years. And what about the captain? Well, MS Dhoni was a recluse then and remains a recluse now, even as speculation soars on whether he will ever take the field in India colours again.

Sachin Tendulkar has retired but is no less revered. The man who carried him on his shoulders, Virat Kohli, has since taken Tendulkar’s place as world cricket’s premier batsman. Zaheer Khan has settled into a nice post-retirement life, coaching IPL franchises or donning the role of an analyst. Sreesanth was the one story that went awry, falling victim to the horrors of match-fixing.

The six hit by MS Dhoni to seal the Cup may have, to the eyes of many, defined India’s entire campaign, but Gautam Gambhir, whose 97 in the final was priceless as he weathered the initial storm after Sehwag and Tendulkar’s dismissal, begs to disagree.

“High time media learns that,” Gambhir said after tweeting about how the World Cup was won by a team and not an individual. Nehra, whose life in Goa these days is far removed from social media, said, “Even if I forget the World Cup final, I can’t forget April 2. It’s my marriage anniversary today. So you think my wife would let me forget?”

Harbhajan agreed with Gambhir that it was a team effort. “Zak’s performance against England. We would have lost that match had he not bowled and got a tie for us. Yuvi’s tournament and that knock against Australia. Sachin in the semifinals. Gautam and Mahi in the finals. You look around and you will find significant contributions,” Harbhajan said.

That was the only day, he says, he got emotional on the field of play. “I don’t think I have ever shed tears on the ground. But then when I think back, one thing strikes me. You can check the scoreboard but those XI players never played another match together in India colours. Never again, and I don’t know why. I don’t have an answer.” That’s a mystery for another time, but for now, it is enough that they played together on that magical night and triumphed for all Indians. PTI

Standouts in the final

April 3, 2020: The Times of India


GAUTAM GAMBHIR: His dogged contribution set up the win but it was all but forgotten in the wake of Dhoni’s late-over heroics. He was also the Cup’s most consistent batsman.

MS DHONI: The skipper’s decision to come in ahead of Yuvraj Singh has acquired legend status, just like the six off Kulasekara to seal victory. Dhoni, incidentally, was in poor form leading up to the final.

YUVRAJ SINGH: Battling cancer and his inner demons throughout, the final saw Yuvraj make some telling contributions with the ball, including breaking the Jayawardene-Sangakkara partnership.

ZAHEER KHAN: The veteran pacer exorcised memories of the 2003 World Cup final loss to Australia by bowling a brilliant opening spell: 3 maidens, 1 wicket and 6 runs off his first 5 overs.

VIRAT KOHLI: Played a small but crucial knock in an extremely tense, high-pressure chase, steadying India after coming out to bat with the team in dire straits at 31/2.

Tendulkar on India’s triumph

When we slowly wrote a national fairy tale

We were in great form, and we all felt even before the first game that this was our best chance

Sachin Tendulkar India Today February 5, 2015 |

Sachin struck two 100s in World Cup 2011.

Before the opening game, I'd invited Yuvraj Singh to my room for dinner. I have always enjoyed a special friendship with Yuvi, who was a little down at the time. I encouraged him to set some targets and concentrate on meeting them. We really needed a fully focused Yuvraj, and that's exactly what we got from the 2011 Man of the Tournament right through the campaign.

We won the toss and Virender Sehwag and I stepped out in an electrifying atmosphere at Mirpur, where the craze for cricket can rival any Indian stadium. As Viru struck the first ball for four, the early nerves disappeared and we started to enjoy ourselves. Viru was sublime in his innings of 175 and Virat Kohli stuck a well-orchestrated century to take us to 370-4, giving us a perfect start and an 87-run win.

Something odd happened hours before our second match against England in Bangalore. I'd been playing with a bat that I had used in the previous season, when I was the ICC Cricketer of the Year. Though it was showing its age, I felt an emotional bond with that bat. In the dressing room, with just a few hours left for the match, I started to knock in a brand new bat and work on getting the weight and shape exactly right. I even remember telling myself that I was wasting my time, because there was no way I would be using a new bat in such a crucial tournament.

When we won the toss and elected to set a target, however, my first few boundaries with my trusted old bat were all deflections behind the wicket. When I tried to play a square cut off Ajmal Shahzad, it was a full-blooded stroke but the ball didn't travel as fast as it should have. I realised it was time to retire the old bat and call for the new one I had thankfully been working on. While I felt sad sending the old bat back to the pavilion, I did score a century with the new one.

It was immediately after the England game, which ended in a dramatic tie even though 676 runs were scored by the two teams, that talks of us winning the title started slowly reaching the dressing room. We won our next two pool matches against Ireland and the Netherlands fairly comfortably and met South Africa in Nagpur.

It was this match that was the real turning point of our campaign. I scored my 99th international century, but it was not much talked about at the time because the focus was on the World Cup-and we set South Africa a target of 297 after a dramatic batting collapse, with Dale Steyn getting a five-for. We eventually lost the match with two balls of the South African innings remaining. In the dressing room, we knew we had slipped once but we could not afford to slip again. We simply had to get the campaign back on track in the next match against the West Indies in Chennai, and we managed to do it thanks to: a Yuvraj Singh century, a surprise slower ball from Zaheer Khan to dismiss Devon Smith for 81, and Harbhajan getting the crucial wicket of Kieron Pollard.

On the eve of that West Indies match, I was practising to some throw-downs from coach Gary Kirsten when I had a strange idea. I closed my eyes for six deliveries, just after he released the ball, and then asked Gary if he'd noticed anything different. Gary said he hadn't, except that my head was staying up when I was driving. I explained that I'd watched his wrist position when he released the ball, and then visualised the path the ball would travel. When I told him that I had been closing my eyes, he was shocked. I was doing this for fun during practice but this exercise was helping me watch the bowler's wrist more closely.

Our quarter-final opponents Australia were chasing their fourth consecutive World Cup title, and meeting us for the first time in the competition since the 2003 final in South Africa. Despite a good start by Australia, our bowlers did well in the powerplay to keep the run rate close to four. The Australians posted 260 on the board, with Ponting making an impressive 104, and we knew it wouldn't be easy to chase under lights. When Viru and I walked out to a deafening applause, we knew it was now or never.

When Viru got out for 15 trying to pull Shane Watson, we had put 44 on the board. Gautam (Gambhir) and I added 50 more before I got out after reaching my half-century. We then lost Gautam and M.S. Dhoni in quick succession and Suresh Raina, playing only his second World Cup game, joined Yuvraj in the middle with 74 runs still needed. I was on the massage table with my eyes closed at the time, with Viru on the other table. I lay completely still while masseur Amit Shah gave me a neck rub. I was praying, asking God to do the best for us. Viru thought I was sleeping and told Amit Shah he was wasting his time. I could hear every word, but I didn't want to move or react. As Yuvraj and Raina gradually pulled things around, I remember hearing my teammates shout: "One more boundary… two more runs." When Yuvi finally hit the winning boundary, I could hear the dressing room go mad. We had knocked out the three-time champions!

Soon after we landed in Mohali for the semi-final against Pakistan, I asked my team mates in the bus if any of them had the Amit Kumar song 'Bade Achhe Lagte Hain'. It was Mane kaka, our masseur, who did. It was the only song I listened to for the next seven days. Playing Pakistan in a World Cup semi-final on Indian soil-it couldn't get any bigger. We got off to a dramatic start thanks to Viru taking on Umar Gul. He was the form bowler for Pakistan but Viru hit four boundaries in Gul's second over. Fortunately, the Pakistanis dropped me a few times, and my innings of 85 proved vital as we lost quick wickets in the middle overs.

Our total of 260 was not a clear winning score on a decent pitch. And after an up-and-down start, Pakistan still had a chance with Afridi and Misbah batting, until Afridi tried to hit a full toss by Harbhajan Singh out of the ground. He would have made that shot nine times out of ten, but that night, he spooned a simple catch to cover. It was one of those days when destiny seemed to be on our side. When we finally won the game, we could see thousands of fans waving the Tricolour in any direction we looked. My friend Aamir Khan, the actor, came to my hotel room to offer his congratulations and I remember us chatting away into the wee hours.

It was hard to imagine I was going to play the World Cup final in Mumbai in front of my home crowd. We were slowly writing a national fairy tale.

As we did our warm-up exercises on the pitch before the final, I could feel the buzz in Wankhede stadium, which was packed hours before the match. India were playing their most important game ever at home. No host team had won the World Cup, but one good day, and we could call ourselves world champions for the rest of our lives.

After a few setbacks, Mahela Jayawardene played one of the truly great World Cup final innings. His century set the match up, as Sri Lanka set a stiff 274-run target. We lost Sehwag for a duck in the first over in dewy conditions and it was down to Gambhir and me to build a platform. I hit a couple of crisp boundaries and was timing the ball well, but just when I thought the ball had stopped swinging, I was tempted to play a drive outside the off stump. That ball from Malinga swung and I edged it to the wicketkeeper for 18.

When Virat also fell for 18 after a key partnership with Gautam, Dhoni promoted himself up the order to negotiate off-spinners Muralitharan, Randiv and Dilshan. I confess that I did not actually see my ultimate dream being fulfilled; the moment I had waited for since making my debut in 1989. When Dhoni hit that winning six, I was with Viru in the dressing room-praying. I had become superstitious during the campaign!

It was only after Dhoni's shot had finally sailed over the boundary that I came out. When I ran on to the ground and embraced an emotional Yuvraj, it was impossible to control my emotions. Virat and Yusuf Pathan lifted me on their shoulders and someone gave me an Indian flag to wave. Being carried by your teammates, and waving the Tricolour at your home ground after having winning the World Cup-what more can anyone ask for?

MS Dhoni's innings

Ayaz Memon India Today February 5, 2015 | World Cup highlights: When the greats got going

91 runs

79 balls.


Sixes- 2

When M.S. Dhoni walked out to bat after Virat Kohli fell in the 2011 final against Sri Lanka, a collective gasp went around the packed Wankhede Stadium. Shouldn't the captain have kept himself for the end? But his decision to bat at 5 turned out to be a stroke of genius. Dhoni was in command in the middle, as batsman and general.

The winning hit-fittingly from Dhoni's bat-was a six, soaring high over deep mid-wicket. After 28 long years, India had won the World Cup again. Not just that, under Dhoni they were now the T20 and 50-50 champions as well as the no. 1 ranked Test side in the world. A one-time ticket collector in the Indian Railways had redefined his own and the country's destiny.

How the Cup was won

The inside story of how MS Dhoni's stalwarts won the 2011 World Cup, April 7, 2019: The Times of India

(Extracted with permission from 'The Barefoot Coach' by Paddy Upton, published by Westland)

For the first time ever, TOI presents what transpired in the dressing room during Team India's monumental winning run in the 2011 World Cup, as revealed by Paddy Upton, the team's mental conditioning coach at that time...

It was a week before the start of the ICC World Cup in 2011, and I sensed that it was probably the very first time that Sachin Tendulkar would have someone to look up to. Mostly, everyone looked up to him. Then Mike Horn entered the room.

As I'm writing this, Mike is recognised as probably the world's greatest modern-day adventurer. Mike has climbed four of the 8,000-metre-plus mountains without ever using high-altitude porters or supplementary oxygen. He has also covered the 7,000 km to the South Pole and back, walking alone.

For many of the Indian players, the pressure they would experience during the World Cup would be unlike anything they had ever had to endure. Knowing this, one of the players asked Mike how he prepared himself before entering these unknown worlds.

'Imagination,' was the unexpected answer. 'I strongly believe in mental preparation. I prepare through imagination. Forget that you are here, and imagine walking into a specific cricket stadium with your bat under your arm. Then imagine your stance and the bowler running up. Can you hear the crowd? What is the smell? What is the temperature? Your knowledge of the conditions becomes the most stable thing in your life. You prepare for that.' On the second night of Mike's visit, he asked whether the individuals sitting around him were actually a team. Somehow, he was not convinced that they bonded or behaved as a team. "My honest observation is that we're not a team yet. I might be wrong. If we can become a true team, the pressure that all of you as individuals carry will get offloaded and distributed through all of you. You don't win the second prize at a World Cup, guys. You lose the first prize. If you think it's okay to make the quarterfinals or the semifinals, you shouldn't be here. If you don't reach for the top, you're not even going to hit the bottom of the mountain."

The team meeting with Mike was about to adjourn when Gary (Kirsten, the coach) started speaking. He clearly had fire in his belly, and what he was about to say would change the nature of our conversations within the team until India would go on to win the World Cup six weeks later.

This is what Gary said to the players: "I recall myself saying that we weren't going to talk about winning the World Cup anymore. But Mike's blown that out of the water, and we're talking a lot about winning the World Cup. A lot of the time, we just say that we'll give our best. That's what it's about. I get a sense from what Mike is saying to us, and from the analogies that I'm picking up here, that giving your best is bullshit. Because that's the cop-out. 'We didn't win, but at least we gave our best...' "We have to go win this thing. Every one of us has got to believe so deep and so intensely that we are going to win this thing. Every one of us! And Mike talks a lot about the weak link. Are there guys out here that just say, 'We'll give it our best shot'? You have worked out a way to make excuses and how not to win. I've said to you guys many times before: We have the team to win this tournament. And we can either go and say we'll give it our best shot, or we can say we are going to go win this thing. Every one of us has to believe it deep down."

"Yuvi climbed his Everest against Australia. That was his final. In our semifinal against Pakistan, he got out for a golden duck. But he'd already earned himself the Player of the Tournament award. The cancerous tumour in Yuvi's lung was discovered shortly after the tournament. Here was a man who truly conquered Everest without using supplementary oxygen.

Yuvraj was to come in at 5, and Dhoni at 6. The most significant moment of that final, if not of the entire World Cup, was when an out-of-form Dhoni decided to bat ahead of Yuvraj. Although Yuvraj was a clear favourite for the player of the tournament by then, he had for all practical purposes already played his final against Australia.

He had literally been vomiting in the change room before the final-whether it was because of nerves or the illness we weren't aware of then, I don't know. MS just knew within himself that he was the man for the high-pressure situation. We were 31 for 2, and with Sehwag and Sachin having got out, we seemed to be in trouble.

Sehwag was the team's most destructive batsman, and Tendulkar the most experienced and most loved. But, in reality, India's best players under pressure were Gambhir and Dhoni. I will always remember that moment, that small gesture, which signalled (at least to me) that the World Cup was coming to India.

We were two wickets down, with Kohli and Gambhir at the crease. Dhoni always waits inside the dressing room before going to bat; he never sits outside. I was sitting next to Gary and Eric Simons (bowling coach) in the players' viewing area when we heard a tap on the window behind us. It was Dhoni. He looked at Gary and pointed to himself, signalling, 'I'm next in.' Whether that small gesture was a statement or a question addressed to his coach, I don't know. But Gary simply nodded his approval. And I smiled. Cometh the hour, cometh the man...

Zaheer Khan’s recollections

Nitin Naik, Oct 4, 2023: The Times of India

What do Indian fans most remember about April 2, 2011? Of course, India beating Sri Lanka in the World Cup final at a throbbing and balmy Wankhede, which ended a 28-year wait for the trophy. THAT six by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and promoting himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh while scoring an unbeaten 91. Gautam Gambhir’s valiant 97.

Isn’t it a travesty though that Zaheer Khan’s penetrative opening spell of 5-3-6-1 in the final, including three maidens on the trot, is rarely mentioned.

Ask Zaheer whether he feels bad about it and the former left-arm-seamer modestly shrugs and smiles. “What matters though is the trophy. As players, all that we played for and wanted was the trophy. The victory is talked about. The celebration afterwards is talked about. That’s all that matters.”Speaking to TOI in Mumbai on the sidelines of a promotional event for Booking.Com, the accommodation partner for the ICC World Cup 2023, Zaheer’s eyes light up as you mention the words ‘fast bowling’. You egg him on to list five pacers to watch out for.

“After a long time, I am excited to see so many good pacers performing in one tournament. Jasprit Bumrah will be right up there. If Shaheen Shah Afridi gets on song, he will be good to watch. Mitchell Starc, if you see his record, always reserves his best for mega events. Keep an eye out for him. Marco Jansen of South Africa will have an impact. Haris Rauf is another guy who might have a good tournament.”

A highly skilled left-armer himself, Zaheer seems to have that bias for his art. Three of his five pace picks are left-arm-seamers. Unfortunately, though, India don’t have any in their line-up. In the mid-2000s, an Indian playing XI often featured three of the four left-arm quicks. Zaheer himself, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra.

Those options seem to have dried up. Ask the owner of 311 Test scalps and 282 ODI sticks whether India could have benefited from having that variety and he answers in the affirmative. “As a variation, it always helps to have a left-arm quick. Arshdeep Singh could have been looked at and groomed leading up to the World Cup, but you got to back people close to the team and their decisions.”

Zaheer picked up 22 scalps in the 2011 World Cup and his bowled dismissals of Paul Collingwood (Bengaluru), Devon Smith (Chennai) and Mike Hussey (Ahmedabad), to wonderfully disguised knuckle balls, come to mind because they were match changing. The soon-to-be 45 (October 7) snaps into rewind mode as he reveals, “I took a year and a half to work on it.”

He laughs when he remembers his inauspicious first attempt at bowling the knuckle ball. “I bowled it in the T20 World Cup match vs Australia in Barbados. David Warner hit me for a six. After that, I bowled it again only in the World Cup as I didn’t want batters to get used to it.”

Ask him which of the dismissals to the knuckle ball he remembers fondly, and he says, “Hussey. It came in a knockout match (quarterfinal) and Ricky Ponting was already going strong. We all knew what Hussey could do and breaking that stand was crucial.”

Like Zaheer, people talk about the 2011 World Cup fondly because the ODI format was still relevant. With so much T20 cricket being played, internationally and at franchise level, does the format have a chance to survive? “I don’t see issues with the format. May be, having more multi-nation tournaments will keep people interested. The problem is bilateral ODIs. Those don’t generate interest now.”

Any chat about the 2011 victory gets Zaheer chatty and he recalls the celebrations. “We decided no one would sleep. After all, we had won the World Cup after 28 years. We were dancing and ultimately were driven out of the party place at 4.30 am. Then all of us started feeling hungry. About 25 people came to my room at 6 am, saying khaana mangao. I ordered for omelets. Players also came in with the newspapers that had recorded our win. But as cooking eggs for 25 people took about an hour, people went back to their rooms as they were getting sleepy. What I remember is the person serving food brought in 25 plates of omelets with only me in the room and the World Cup trophy. I slept off too and when I woke up, I had some serious cleaning up to do.”

As international cricketers, travelling is something that comes with the territory, and Zaheer fondly recalls his trips to the UK when he played county cricket for Worcestershire. “I spent six months playing that 2006 season as I had been dropped from the Indian team. Driving along the countryside was beautiful. I enjoyed playing at different venues. England is also a place that fast bowlers like me enjoy because pitches there offer a lot of help. Trent Bridge in Nottingham is a venue I have tasted success in,” he revealed in a separate interaction with actor Varun Dhawan when asked which country he enjoyed travelling to as a cricketer.

At a personal level, Zaheer says he enjoys going to Maldives as his wife, Sagarika loves the water and the beaches there.

Coming back to cricket and the World Cup, Zaheer said that like the 2011 team, the 2023 unit, led by Rohit Sharma will also have a lot of expectations to deal with. “In a home World Cup, there will be expectations. But players will have to play freely and block the outside noise. With social media now, it could be a challenge. But it is important to get into the top four, first and then it is about having two good days and you become champions. India are looking good and are peaking at the right time.”

So, who are his favourites? Zaheer lists India, Australia, England, and Pakistan as his picks to make the top four. “Can I name a dark horse? I think, South Africa are going to have a good World Cup as they have the right players for Indian conditions,” he concluded.

See also

World Cup (cricket): history <>World Cup (cricket): 1975 <>World Cup (cricket): 1979 <>World Cup (cricket): 1983 <>World Cup (cricket): 1987 <>World Cup (cricket): 1992 <>World Cup (cricket): 1996 <>World Cup (cricket): 1999 <>World Cup (cricket): 2003 <>World Cup (cricket): 2007 <>World Cup (cricket): 2011 <>World Cup (cricket): 2015 <>World Cup (cricket): 2019 <>World Cup (cricket): 2023

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